We had a long talk about our lives, our family, political issues, and the two things that are always in everybody’s mind around the world: the COVID pandemic, and the quarantine measures taken by each country. When we were about to hang up, my cousin said she wanted to congratulate me on the progress I’d made on my walking; she’d seen the latest video of me Eric had sent, which my mom had forwarded her. My cousin was very impressed about the product of my efforts.
I told her there was no need to congratulate me; it wasn’t my perseverance and effort that had caused it but self-imposed high standards. My cousin, who’s a child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, said that there was another possibility besides self-imposed high standards (which, in my case, are usually accompanied by self-criticism): my wish to live. It was my wish to live that had encouraged me to persist with my exercises.
Her statement brought back memories. I suddenly recalled what had prompted me to do my exercises time and time again – what had made me persevere with them all. I wanted to be able to talk, sing, drink water, and cook, but most of anything, I wanted to be able to walk with a cane (I talk about it in previous chapters). And I realized that my cousin was right: my wish to walk and drink and sing and cook had stemmed from my wish to live.